14.2.10

News 02.14.10

I just wanted to let people know about a few changes that will be taking effect on The Scrapyard Forecast starting in March. I've often felt as though the blog has been, in its own right, not so much a blog but an online music zine disguised as a blog. Maybe one day it will be easily recognized as so. But for now, to stimulate the idea I'm going to try my best in maintaining a number of regular monthly features/featurettes. In other words, a bit of structure.

The monthly structure will generally look like this (with room left for tweaking):

The Collaborative Network-
Each month I will review an album that is a collaboration between two or more artists with each subsequent monthly collaborative post stemming from the last, as in, one of the artists is carried over to the next post in which I review a new collaboration of theirs with an entirely different artist. Slowly, a collaborative web will form.

For example: If I were to review Brian Eno and Robert Fripp's No Pussyfooting, the following month I would review something like Cluster & Eno's collab from 1977. And the following month a different Cluster or Eno collab. The point is to try and make it all tie together, to create a network of musicians.

The City Sound Journal: An ongoing documentation of field recordings from the Greater Vancouver Region-
This is sort of a spin off of The Esoteric Soundscapes series I did a while back if some of you can remember that. This is something I've wanted to bring back to the site for a while. I'll be looking for contributors so if you live in or around Vancouver and actively work with field recording please get in touch.

Label Highlight/Nu Music-
These two features will alternate monthly. The Label Highlight is an in depth look at the inner workings of a particular label: releases, events, location, contribution, etc...Nu Music will be a post that will recognize work that is happening now, contemporary experimental albums reviewed and dissected.

The Outsider-
The outsider is basically a wild card. This monthly feature could be about anything that has peaked my interest in the month. It could take the form of a compilation review, an interview, a look at a particular city's music scene, a book review, a discussion about album art, an artist highlight, anything really.

Dispersed among these four mainstays will of course be Vacant Tapes information and info about my own musical outings. I'm looking for suggestions, comments, concerns, and contributors. If you think you have something worth contributing each month get in touch with me. Tomorrow I leave for a week long vacation to a remote island to bask in rural life and escape the olympic crazed city in which I live. Bye for now.

12.2.10

Solars 'Eyes' (Vacant Tapes 002, 2010)

Well, after much labour and dispute it seems Vacant Tapes is finally starting to produce. It is with great pleasure that I announce the first (technically the second) release, a single sided slow burner from the ever impressive Solars. Seeing these guys live is always so engaging and I am truly honoured to have been given the chance to release this.

The Mexico, Roger cassette is nearly complete (Vacant 001), basically just waiting on the finalization of art work. Keep an eye on the Scrapyard if you are interested in getting one of those and any future releases. I've also just purchased a domain for the label where I will be posting release info, audio samples, news, performance information and more. I'll keep everyone informed about when the site will be up and running. These tapes are going fast and half of them are already gone. Get in touch with me if you'd like a copy or check with Aquarius Records over the next month or so.


Solars
'Eyes'
C-39, Singe Sided Cassette Tape
Vacant Tapes 002
50 Copies
2010

Acknowledgments:

Kris Charlton - for his efforts towards the production of the first two Vacant releases. Visit Twee Death.

Mark Richardson - who has recently given the tape some air time on his fantastic Pop Dr(((o)))nes radio show. Visit Expressway to my Skull.

For now, to hear a sound sample please visit the Solars Myspace page. Or download Pop Dr(((o)))nes: Episode 36 through the link above.

Thanks and have a great day.

2.2.10

In Memoriam: Jack Rose and Danielle Baquet-Long

Here is my final farewell to 2009. Although the year was a fulfilling one in music, it was most certainly a tragic one as well. The passing of Jack Rose and Danielle Baquet-Long was shocking news to discover, and I speak for all of the people who in some way have felt their presence through their music, that they will be missed and never forgotten. I will take this opportunity to remember both Jack and Dani through the one thing I can say for sure they were both passionate about.

Jack Rose

Pelt 'Ayahuasca' (VHF)

Jack Rose was perhaps better known for his solo work, where he would often take nothing more than an acoustic guitar to unbelievable places, infusing his songs with an appalachian twang harkening Fahey and Basho, while also incorporating ragtime, folk and drone. I spent many sun-filled days relaxing to the tunes from his 2003 release Raag Manifestos and 2005's Kensington Blues. My old roommate owned Dr. Ragtime and His pals, a beautifully packaged 180g lp from the Tequila Sunrise label. She would put it on and we'd sit and marvel at the artwork, a pink obi strip semi-obscuring a sun-caked pastoral photograph of two lounging hillbillies with stringed instruments. And the vinyl, so thick, a real pleasure to place on the turn table. I loved that record and my roommate cherished it.

As much as I love those solo albums though, its Rose's band pelt that really gets me going. Pelt tread a slightly different path, stripping back most of the guitar twang to its bare notes, loooong bare notes. Usually a three piece, the band utilize a plethora of instrumentation ranging from banjos, dulceolas, chord organs, tibetan bowls, and so on, resulting in something thats almost always a layered drone piece. My favourite Pelt tracks are the ones when Rose brings in his signature looped guitar plucking, turning them into truly dark neo-appalachian works. Ayahuasca has always been a standout for me. All the elements are here, the tracks are long and left to breathe and the drone is laid on thick, and there is a lot Rose's solo guitar work peppered throughout. I owe this album a lot as it got me through some rough times, and I hope others will discover this record at a time in their life when they need it, just as I did. Rose's contributions made a difference in my life, and I am one of many who are saddened to see him pass on.

Danielle Baquet-Long

Celer 'Tropical' (Mystery Sea)

Releasing almost exclusively on their own cdr label in 2006 and '07, the husband and wife duo Celer came a long way in the succeeding two years, with albums on Students of Decay, and/OAR, Infraction and more. Tragically, Danielle Baquet-Long passed away at only 26 years old. Although I never truly embraced the music of Celer as I have with other groups working in similar territory, I cannot deny the imprint they have made on the scene in the last two years. Evidently one of the hardest working and most dedicated musical bodies, Celer always seemed to have a new album in the pipeline, and it's been hard to keep up. I hope Will can summon up enough strength to carry the torch forward and continue to make and release music on his own.

Celer has always reminded me of a darker, more saturated Stars of the Lid, and those saturated tones ring out on Tropical, their 2008 release on Mystery Sea. Celer is all about slow shifting atmospheres, rolling thunder clouds filling the sky and turning everything a blackened grey. The arrangements here are lethargic and filled with space, revealing hazy late-night dark ambient movements. It was albums like these that defined the duo's sound, and it is unfortunate to say the least, that the demise of this powerful musical entity also came with the death of a talented young woman. My condolences to Dani's husband Will, and all her family and friends.